Safety warnings after schoolie raped on beach
SCHOOLIES are being warned to keep with their friends following the rape of an 18-year-old woman at Byron Bay's Belongil Beach on Sunday night.
But Byron Bay Schoolies Hub co-ordinator Nicqui Yazdi said it was not a case of "paradise lost" due to this incident.
Ms Yazdi urged schoolies to heed warnings to stick together and arrange a safe meeting place in case any friends got lost.
"We have got a consistent message we give to young people who are out and about and that is to look out for your mates," she said.
"Unfortunately in many places around the country it just isn't safe for women to walk around alone at night.
Kids get separated all the time and we suggest to them to pre-arrange a meeting place if they get separated - and the hub can be used as that meeting place.
Ms Yazdi said she was not concerned Byron Bay's reputation as a safe Schoolies destination would be tarnished following the rape.
"I still think that Byron is generally a safer destination than most of the other Schoolies destinations," she said.
Police said about 9pm Sunday, an 18-year-old woman was approached by an unknown man while walking along Belongil Beach.
The woman, who was holidaying in the area to celebrate schoolies 2012, was pushed to the ground before being sexually assaulted.
After the man fled, and police were alerted, the woman was taken to Byron Bay Hospital for treatment.
Detectives from Tweed/Byron Local Area Command established a crime scene at the beach and commenced inquiries.
Police are appealing for anyone who witnessed the incident, or any suspicious behaviour in the area, to come forward. The man is described as being of Caucasian appearance, aged in his late teens, with blond hair.